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Search continues for missing hikers in Sooke, children found safe
VICTORIA -- Update:
Two missing adult Vancouver Island scout leaders, who were first reported missing on Sunday, were located by search-and-rescue teams Monday.
As of early Monday afternoon, the group of five children and one adult scout leader located safe by search crews in a campsite near the area Sunday were still awaiting evacuation due to poor weather and terrain conditions.
The search for two missing adults involved in a Vancouver Island scouts program continues Monday, while a group of children in the program and one adult leader have been located, according to Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue (SAR).
The search-and-rescue agency first received the call for two overdue hikers in the Sooke hills area shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.
Once crews deployed, they were able to locate a wilderness campsite that contained the children and one leader. However, the two missing adults were not found.
Search manager for Juan de Fuca SAR, Vickie Webber, says that rescue teams located the group of five children and one adult leader near a creek that had swelled to dangerous levels in heavy rainfall. The rescue teams decided to stay with the group at the campsite overnight to allow for the creek's water levels to recede.
"We got to the five kids with their leader, but conditions were too treacherous to evacuate them out," said Webber in a statement.
"SAR teams had to make their way through from the other side of the ridge to reach them," she said. " It was a steep, thick forest, and very difficult hike. They found all the kids tucked warmly and safely inside their tents, sound asleep – with the adult leader pacing in the wind and driving rain."
Juan de Fuca SAR says that it will evacuate the group once water levels in the creek recede, which will hopefully occur on Monday.
According to Webber, the priority for search-and-rescue teams now is to locate the two missing adults, who are also scout leaders in the program. While strong winds have died down since Sunday, rainfall has turned to snow in some of the areas that searchers are investigating.
Juan de Fuca SAR says that search teams worked overnight, and that mutual aid from other search and rescue agencies have joined the search Monday.
"Our primary concern and focus now is on the two leaders who have not been found," said Webber.